Global coronavirus cases surpass 900,000: Live updates

UK, Spain, see highest daily deaths as Iran’s total toll passes 3,000 in what’s seen as worst crisis since WWII.

Municipal workers wearing protective outfits wait to reload the tanks with chemicals while disinfecting an area of the Romanian capital Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday, March 31, 2020 as authorities attem

The coronavirus death toll in the UK rose by 563 in 24 hours, according to the health ministy, a record jump that brought the number of patients who died in hospital to 2,352.

The announcement on Wednesday came as Spain recorded its highest daily death toll – another 864 people – while infections jumped to 102,136, up from 94,417.

In the United States, the death toll has exceeded 4,000 and the number of confirmed cases surpassed 200,000.

Meanwhile, Iran’s death toll exceeded 3,000 with 138 new fatalities as the the United Nations chief warned the pandemic is the “worst crisis” to face the world since World War II.

Globally, more than 44,000 people have died, about 900,000 have been diagnosed with the virus, and some 190,000 have recovered, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the latest updates:

Wednesday, April 1

20:58 GMT – UK Prime Minister: ‘Sad, sad day’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson lamented the latest coronavirus data that showed a record increase of deaths in Britain, saying it was a “sad, sad day” as fatalities rose by 563.

“Let’s be in no doubt this has been a sad, sad day,” Johnson said in a video message posted on Twitter.

“But let’s be in no doubt that if we can follow the programme that we are currently set upon, if we can comply with the measures that we’ve embarked on together, then I have absolutely no doubt that we will begin to start to push those numbers down.”

20:52 GMT – Climate summit postponed

A climate summit that had been due to take place in Glasgow in November has been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak, Finland said.

“Glasgow’s COP26 climate conference will move from November to next year due to the global coronavirus situation,” said a statement from Finland’s environment ministry, which quoted UN climate officials.

20:21 GMT – Eritrea announces 21-day lockdown to fight coronavirus

Eritrea has ordered citizens to remain in their homes for three weeks, starting from Thursday.

Officials in the country have reported 18 cases of COVID-19 so far, including one person who contracted the disease in Eritrea “without any history of foreign travel”, a statement by a national COVID-19 taskforce said.

Since announcing its first case on March 21, the government has already banned commercial flights, closed schools and halted public transport.

But these steps have been “vexingly inadequate”, the taskforce said, urging “much more stringent measures”.

20:18 GMT – Sierra Leone declares three-day lockdown

Sierra Leone’s government has announced a three-day lockdown, which will come into effect on Sunday. 

The announcement came after health authorities announced a second coronavirus case, in a doctor working in a hospital in the capital, Freetown.

“Health workers will be provided with face masks,” said Defence Minister Kellie Conteh, the coronavirus coordinator, who added that citizens should strive to wear masks too.

INSIDE STORY: What are the challenges of battling coronavirus in India? (24:35)

20:11 GMT – US surpasses 200,000 cases

The US exceeded 200,000 novel coronavirus cases, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The pandemic has claimed the lives of at least 4,361 people in the country, which leads the world in the number of confirmed infections with 203,608.

Read more here.

19:45 GMT – Turkish lira at crisis levels 

Turkey’s lira slid one percent to levels last touched during the worst of the 2018 currency crisis as the coronavirus pandemic began weighing on manufacturing and trade.

Read more here.

19:43 GMT – Qatar reports 54 new cases

The State of Qatar reported 54 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf country to 835.

19:27 GMT – Duterte warns against violating lockdown

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has warned he would order the country’s police and military to shoot dead anyone “who creates trouble” during a month-long lockdown of the island of Luzon enforced to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

Read more here.

19:11 GMT – France reports new deaths

France has reported 509 more deaths from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country to 4,032.

18:44 GMT – WHO’s Tedros ‘deeply concerned’

Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he is “deeply concerned about the rapid escalation and global spread” of the coronavirus infection.

There has been a “near exponential growth” in the number of number of new cases, he said, adding that in the next few days the global number of infections will reach one million – and 50,000 deaths.

18:02 GMT – Turkey reports new deaths, cases

Turkey’s health minister reported 63 new deaths because of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of fatalities to 277.

The health official said that there are 2,148 new cases of the virus, adding that the disease has reached to each of the country’s 81 provinces. 

Turkey coronavirus
A woman wearing a protective face mask waits for a train as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Istanbul, Turkey [Umit Bektas/Reuters]

17:45 GMT – Kenyan president apologises for police violence

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has apologised for violence by the police following the enforcement of a nationwide curfew last week.

The police have been accused of using heavy-handed tactics to enforce the dusk-to-dawn curfew.

Read more here.

17:42 GMT – Albania extends lockdown until end of outbreak

Albanian schools, cafes, restaurants and other public venues will remain shut and restrictions on social and economic activity will stay in place till the end of the coronavirus outbreak, Health Minister Ogerta Manastirliu said.

The order effectively extends a lockdown, in force since mid-March, that had been due to end on April 3.

The Health Ministry reported 16 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total in the small Balkan nation of 2.8 million people to 259.

17:34 GMT – Putin grants government emergency powers

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed legislation to allow the government to declare a state of national emergency in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Only the president can declare a state of emergency after he has formally received the support of the upper house of parliament, but lawmakers on Tuesday passed legislation granting the cabinet of ministers the same emergency powers.

Specialists sanitize public facilities to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease in Stavropol
Specialists wearing protective gear cross the road while they sanitize public facilities to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Stavropol, Russia [Eduard Korniyenko/Reuters]

17:17 GMT – Italy reports new cases, fatalities

The death toll from the coronavirus in Italy has climbed by 727 to 13,155, the Civil Protection Agency said, a significantly smaller increase than seen on Tuesday and the lowest daily tally since March 26.

However, the number of new cases rose more sharply than a day earlier, growing by 4,782 against a previous 4,053, bringing total infections since the outbreak came to light on February 21 to 110,574.

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rome
A health worker wearing a protective gear swabs the mouth of a woman as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Rome, Italy [Yara Nardi/Reuters]

17:13 GMT – Brazil reports first indigenous coronavirus case 

An indigenous woman in a village deep in the Amazon rainforest has contracted the coronavirus, the first case reported among Brazil’s more than 300 tribes, the Health Ministry’s indigenous health service Sesai said.

The 19-year-old woman from the Kokama tribe tested positive for the virus in the district of Santo Antonio do Içá, located near the border with Colombia some 880 km (550 miles) up the Amazon river from the state capital Manaus.

“Unfortunately, we have an indigenous person with the virus,” said a Sesait spokeswoman by telephone.

17:08 GMT – Lebanese currency weakens further amid lockdown

The Lebanese pound is now worth 47 percent less on parallel markets than it is on the official exchange rate.

Read more here.

Lebanon coronavirus
Islamic health unit personnel wearing protective gear stand near ambulances as part of preparation to help tackling the coronavirus outbreak in Beirut’s southern suburbs [Aziz Taher/Reuters]

16:54 GMT – Palestinian man freed from Israeli jail tests positive 

A Palestinian man tested positive for coronavirus one day after being released from an Israeli prison, state-run Wafa news agency reported. 

Nour Eddin Sarsour, 19, had spent two weeks in custody at a military detention facility near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, Wafa said.

16:29 GMT – US postpones immigration asylum hearings again

The US government said it had postponed for a second time hearings for asylum-seeking migrants in Mexico due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that it and the Justice Department had decided to postpone Migrant Protection Protocol hearings through May 1. They had previously announced a postponement through April 22.

16:21 GMT – Wimbledon tennis championship cancelled in 2020 

The Wimbledon Championships scheduled to take place from June 29-July 12 have been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) said.

“It is with great regret that the main board of the All England Club and the committee of management of the championships have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic,” the AELTC said in a statement.

“The 134th Championships will instead be staged from June 28 to July 11, 2021.”

16:10 GMT – Swedish airline BRA cancels all flights 

Swedish airline BRA said it was pausing all traffic between April 6 and May 31 as demand had ground to a halt amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“With the government’s and the Public Health Authority’s strong call for the Swedish population not to travel within the country, we have no customers left that fly with us and we therefore need to further adapt our traffic to the new conditions,” it said.

16:06 GMT – Second prisoner dies at Louisiana’s Oakdale prison

A second inmate at the federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana has died from COVID-19, a spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons confirmed to Reuters News Agency.

15:59 GMT – Serbian government official dies from coronavirus

A Serbian government official, Branislav Blazic, was among the five people who died of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, the national coronavirus crisis task force confirmed. 

Blazic, a state secretary in the Environment Protection ministry and a prominent member of President Aleksandar Vucic’s conservative Progressive Party SNS, had contracted the virus during a visit to his hometown Kikinda, one of the epidemic hotspots. 

Serbian government official dies from coronavirus
Serbian military and volunteers set up beds inside the Novi Sad Fair to accommodate people who suffer mild symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Novi Sad, Serbia [Marko Djurica/Reuters]

15:41 GMT – Germany extends virus restrictions until April 19 

Germany will extend its current restrictions on public life to limit the spread of the coronavirus by two weeks until April 19, Chancellor Angela Merkel said. 

“We assessed the situation today and confirmed that the restrictions… will be valid up to and including April 19. We will reassess the situation on the Tuesday after Easter,” Merkel said in a telephone conference following a video meeting with regional state premiers.

Hospitals Expect Number Of Covid-19 Cases To Rise
A medical staffer wearing a protective mask and clothing cleans at the intensive care unit at the St. Josef Hospital in Bochum, Germany [Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images]

15:30 GMT – Five podcasts to take your mind off coronavirus 

From the end of Ebola in the DRC to a family suing Khalifa Haftar in the US – here are five podcast episodes to listen to while under lockdown.

15:23 GMT – War-torn Libya reports new cases

Officials in Libya reported two new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infections in the war-torn country to 10.

The testing of 11 samples found two positive for COVID-19, the National Anti-Disease Center said on Facebook.

The UN has urged a suspension of hostilities in Libya to help efforts to stem the coronavirus outbreak.

A volunteer sprays disinfectant to sanitise rooms of a clinic testing for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Misrata
A volunteer sprays disinfectant to sanitise rooms of a clinic testing for coronavirus in Misrata, Libya [Ayman Al-Sahili/Reuters]

15:18 GMT – Soccer-UEFA suspends Champions League

UEFA has suspended all Champions League and Europa League matches “until further notice” due to the coronavirus pandemic, European football’s governing body said.

All national team games scheduled for June have also been postponed, including play-off matches for Euro 2020, which has been moved to 2021.

Read more here about sporting events affected by the pandemic.

15:14 GMT – World risks food crisis, officials warn

The world risks facing a food shortage if authorities fail to manage the continuing coronavirus outbreak properly, the heads of three global agencies – WTO, WHO, and the UN – have warned.

“In the midst of the COVID-19 lockdowns, every effort must be made to ensure that trade flows as freely as possible, specially to avoid food shortages” from developing, they said in a statement.

Read more here.

food crisis
Almost-empty shelves where pasta would normally be stocked are pictured inside a supermarket store in north London [Isabel Infantes/AFP]

15:10 GMT – Singapore reports 74 new cases

Singapore reported 74 new coronavirus cases in its biggest intraday jump, bringing the total tally to 1,000.

Twenty of the new cases were imported while 54 were locally transmitted, the health ministry said in a statement. Ten of the locally transmitted cases are linked to a previous case in an old people’s home.

Five more cases were discharged on Wednesday, bringing the total number of recoveries in the city-state to 245, the health ministry said.

15:00 GMT – America’s FDA says malaria drugs in shortage

The US Food and Drug Administration said malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and related chloroquine are in shortage due to a surge in demand because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The drugs, which have been tried with some success to treat the disease caused by the virus, were added to the agency’s website that lists drug shortages on Tuesday.

14:57 GMT – Switzerland past ‘bottleneck’ in coronavirus testing

Switzerland no longer faces shortages in coronavirus testing, its top health official dealing with the pandemic said.

“There are no bottlenecks any more,” Daniel Koch, head of the Federal Office of Health’s communicable diseases division, told a news conference in Bern. “We did 16,000 tests since yesterday.”

14:54 GMT – Tracking Africa’s coronavirus cases

More than 200 people have died from COVID-19 including former heads of state since first case was confirmed in February.

Of Africa’s 54 countries, only five have yet to report a case of the virus.

Read more here.

14:39 GMT – Portugal PM says restrictions could last months

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said that the country may be facing “one, two, three months” of restrictions on movement of people, as the number those who have died from the virus nears 200.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is expected to decide later on Wednesday whether to extend a state of emergency, declared on March 18, which restricted non-essential travel and led thousands of businesses to close their doors.

“We don’t know whether this will last one, two, or three months and this is obviously scary for everyone,” Costa told SIC television channel.

With Easter weekend approaching, he reminded the Portuguese that “families cannot go home to visit their families. .. this year, we must tell emigrants not to come – and if they do, not to leave their homes”.

14:19 GMT – UK death toll rises by 563

The number of people with coronavirus who have died in hospital in the United Kingdom rose by 563 to a total 2,352, the government said.

It added there were 29,474 confirmed cases of the virus, up from 25,150 on Tuesday.

Hello, this is Farah Najjar taking over from my colleague Umut Uras.

12:55 GMT – Erdogan: Turkey may need more measures if ‘voluntary quarantine’ is ignored

Turkey will have to take additional measures if the coronavirus outbreak widens and citizens do not abide by a “voluntary quarantine,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Erdogan has stopped short of announcing a full lockdown across Turkey, mainly for economic reasons. He reiterated that Ankara was determined to continue production and exports.

12:39 GMT – Qatar says it will pay worker salaries in full

Qatar has announced that workers under quarantine and treatment in the country will receive full salaries without deductions.

In a press conference on Tuesday, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) also said it was mandatory for employers and companies to follow the necessary government policy, adding that a hotline service has been launched to receive workers’ grievances.

12:32 GMT – New digital show: The Beginning of the Pandemic

When COVID-19 first broke in China, it was hard to imagine what would follow.

Our correspondent Scott Heidler was there – and he shares what it was like to cover the beginning of a pandemic that now spread throughout the world.

You can watch our new digital show here.

The Beginning of a Pandemic | Between Us

12:00 GMT – Turkey sends supplies to Spain and Italy 

Turkish officials said that health supplies for Spain and Italy departed from Etimesgut airport in the captial Ankara. 

Domestically produced protective masks, face gears, eye gears, overalls and anti-bacterial fluids were transported by an A400 military aircraft in the morning, they told Al Jazeera.

Turkish aid to Spain [Handout Turkish ppresidency]
The supplies include protective masks and face gears, according to authorities [Handout/Turkish authorities]  

11:10 – Putin holds meeting by video-conference in coronavirus fears

Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a government meeting by video conference, the Kremlin said, a day after a doctor who met Putin last week said he had been diagnosed with the virus.

Denis Protsenko last week gave Putin a tour of Moscow’s main coronavirus hospital and shook hands with the Russian leader. Protsenko is now self-isolating in his office.

The Kremlin, which has said everything is fine with Putin’s health, said he was keeping his distance from other people and preferred to work remotely.

FILE In this file photo taken on Monday, March 23, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right shakes hands with the hospital's chief Denis Protsenko during his visit to the hospital for coronavirus
Denis Protsenko gave Putin a tour of Moscow’s main coronavirus hospital and shook hands with the Russian leader [AP]

10:50 GMT – New Zealand police urge virus-testing tent thieves to get tested

Hapless thieves who stole a coronavirus testing tent in New Zealand have put themselves at risk of contracting the virus and should get tested, police warned.

The tent was stolen from outside an Auckland hospital where it had been set up to test Kiwis for COVID-19, police said in a video posted on Facebook.

East Health Trust chief Loretta Hansen said staff discovered the tent was missing when they arrived early Tuesday morning to begin a day of testing.

“Some fool, idiot, come and stole our tent – our COVID-19 testing tent,” she said. “They chopped it off at the ground level. It was bolted in by concrete, and they just chopped it off.”

10:30 GMT – Former Somali PM dies after contracting coronavirus

Somalia’s former Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein has died in a London hospital after contracting coronavirus, his family told BBC’s Somali service.

He was 83 and held office between November 2007 and February 2009.

Somalia's Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein speaks during an interview at his hotel room in Nairobi November 18, 2008. Hussein said the Somalia government is very match concerned about the pirates in
Nur Hassan Hussein held office between November 2007 and February 2009 [Antony Njuguna/Reuters]

10:15 GMT – US death toll exceeds 4,000

The total US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 4,000, more than double the number from three days earlier, according to a tally by US-based Johns Hopkins University.

The number of deaths was 4,076, more than twice the 2,010 recorded late on Saturday, while China’s death toll stood at 3,310.

More than 40 percent of recorded deaths nationally were in New York state, the Johns Hopkins data showed.

The number of confirmed US cases has reached 189,510, the most in the world, though Italy and Spain have recorded more fatalities.

09:58 GMT – Spain reports more than 100,000 coronavirus cases

The number of cases of coronavirus in Spain surpassed 100,000, while the number of fatalities reported overnight reached a new record at 864.

The number of cases rose to 102,136 up from 94,417 on Tuesday, the health ministry said.

Overall fatalities caused by the disease rose to 9,053 from 8,189 the previous day. The daily death toll was the nation’s highest yet at 864, though the increase was lower in percentage terms than previous days.

09:56 – Iran’s coronavirus death toll rises to 3,036: official

Iran’s death toll from the new coronavirus reached 3,036, with 138 deaths in the past 24 hours, health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV, adding the country had 47,593 infections.

“We had 2,987 new cases of infected people in the past 24 hours and 15,473 people have recovered from the disease,” Jahanpur said.

09:20 GMT – White House projects up to 240,000 deaths in US

The White House has projected 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the US from the coronavirus pandemic even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained.

The projections were presented during a White House briefing on Tuesday. They suggest if no social distancing measures had been put in place across the country, between 1.5 million to 2.2 million people would have died.

Read more here.

White House projects 100,000-240,000 US deaths from coronavirus

09:05 GMT – Indonesia confirms 149 new coronavirus infections

Indonesia confirmed 149 new coronavirus infections, taking the total in the Southeast Asian country to 1,677, a health ministry official said.

Achmad Yurianto reported 21 new deaths from the virus, taking the total to 157, while 103 had recovered.

08:56 GMT – Philippines reports 227 new coronavirus cases, eight more deaths

The Philippines recorded 227 new coronavirus cases and eight more deaths, the health ministry said.

The latest figures brought the total number of infections and deaths in the country to 2,311 and 96, respectively.

08:42 GMT – British boy, 13, dies of coronavirus ‘without any family close by’

Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, a 13-year-old boy from London who tested positive for COVID-19, has died.

He is believed to be the United Kingdom’s youngest coronavirus victim.

“Ismail was only 13 years old without any pre-existing health conditions and sadly he died without any family members close by due to the highly infectious nature of Covid 19,” the family said in a statement on Tuesday.

Read more here.

epa08303686 A view of the NHS Emergency Department entrance at Kings College hospital in London, Britain, 18 March 2020. British Prime Minister Johnson has called upon the British public to avoid all
Approximately 1,800 people have died after testing positive for COVID-19 in the UK [EPA]

07:31 GMT – Tokyo’s Nikkei drops more than 4 percent on growing virus concern

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei index dropped more than 4 percent amid a broader market rout, with fears growing of a possible lockdown in the capital.

Market sentiment in Tokyo also suffered from a key survey showing confidence among Japan’s biggest manufacturers plunging into negative territory for the first time in seven years, as the coronavirus pandemic hits demand and disrupts production.

The market faced additional selling pressure in late trade after US stock index futures dropped while investors remained nervous about a possible Tokyo lockdown, brokers said.

A man looks at movements of the foreign exchange rate against the US dollar (upper) in Tokyo on March 31, 2020. - Tokyo shares closed lower on March 31 in volatile trade, as investors remained nervous
Nikkei has been suffering from growing fears of a possible lockdown in the capital [AFP]

07:15 GMT – Survivors of coronavirus share their experiences

As COVID-19 spreads around the world, infected and recovered patients are sharing their experiences on social media.

One pieve of advice most of them agree on is that the virus and illness it causes should not be taken lightly.

“Don’t think this won’t touch you,” one survivor says.

06:50 GMT – Russian plane takes off for US with help on board: State television

A Russian military transport plane is headed for the US with medical equipment and masks to help Washington fight coronavirus, Russian state television reported.

President Vladimir Putin offered Russian help in a phone conversation with President Donald Trump on Monday, in which the two leaders discussed how best to respond to the virus.

The flight, organised by the Russian defence ministry, is likely to be unpopular with some critics of Trump who have urged him to keep his distance from Putin and argue that Moscow uses such aid as a geopolitical and propaganda tool to advance its influence, something the Kremlin denies.

“Trump gratefully accepted this humanitarian aid,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was cited as saying by the Interfax news agency.

06:34 GMT – UK aims to test 25,000 a day for coronavirus by mid-April: Minister

Britain is aiming to increase the number of tests for coronavirus to 25,000 a day by the middle of the month from its present capacity of 12,750 a day, housing minister Robert Jenrick told national Sky News.

The UK has so far reported more than 25,000 cases and over 1,800 deaths because of coronavirus.

In this handout photo provided by 10 Downing Street, Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick answering questions from the media via a video link during a media briefing on c
Minister Jenrick says the UK’s test capacity for coronavirus currently stands at 12,750 a day [AP]

06:11 GMT – Russian manufacturing activity shrinks in March: Survey

Russian manufacturing activity shrank in March for the 11th straight month and at its sharpest pace since November as the coronavirus outbreak and falling client demand affected production, a survey of businesses showed.

The Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for factory activity fell to 47.5 in March from 48.2 in February, remaining below the 50.0 mark dividing expansion from contraction.

With uncertainty clouding the global economic outlook, business confidence fell to its lowest since the measure of future output was first included in the survey eight years ago.

05:30 GMT – Brief summary of the morning’s developments

I will shortly be handing over the live blog to my colleagues in Doha.

Here is a brief summary of this morning’s developments:

Nearly 860,000 people around the world have now been diagnosed with the coronavirus; the number of cases in the US exceeds that in any other country.

China is due to release data showing the number of asymptomatic cases – data not previously released publicly.

Japan appears to be edging closer towards the kind of strict movement controls seen elsewhere in the world.

Taiwan is donating 10 million masks and other medical equipment to countries hit hard by the virus.

05:15 GMT – Internet restored in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh

Reports are coming in that the internet has been restored to the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, amid concerns that an earlier blackout was preventing people from getting crucial information.

Those living in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where conflict continues, still have no access to the internet.

05:00 GMT – No deliveries: Japan Post suspends service to more than 150 countries

Japan Post will stop delivering letters and parcels to more than 150 countries from Thursday as flights are cancelled because of the coronavirus.

Mail will continue to the US, France, Australia and Hong Kong among a handful of places.

Other national postal services in Asia, including Hong Kong and Malaysia, have also reduced services because of the lack of flights.

04:55 GMT – South Korea reports 101 new cases, most linked to overseas arrivals

South Korea has confirmed 101 new cases of coronavirus, most of them in and around Seoul, the capital.

Many are linked to people arriving from overseas, and the country on Wednesday began to enforce mandatory quarantine on all those coming from abroad, including South Korean students. Those who break the rules risk a fine of as much as $8,200 or jail, while foreigners can be expelled.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control says the country has recorded 9,887 cases so far with more than 5,560 people recovered. The death toll stands at 165 people.

04:35 GMT – Cluster of infections among medics at hospital in northern Mexico

Some 29 doctors and nurses at a hospital in northern Mexico have been diagnosed with coronavirus, according to a report from Reuters, citing the regional health department.

The outbreak at the government-owned IMSS General Hospital in Monclova in the northern border state of Coahuila is thought to have started when a doctor picked up the virus from a patient at his private practice.

04:30 GMT – Germany reports 5,453 additional cases

Germany’s Robert Koch Institute says the country confirmed an additional 5,453 cases of coronavirus with a further 149 deaths.

The country now has recorded a total of 67,366 cases, approximately 16,100 people recovered, and 732 deaths.

04:20 GMT – Taiwan to donate 10 million masks to countries most in need, share expertise

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen says the country will donate masks and other vital medical supplies to its allies and countries hardest-hit by the coronavirus, and collaborate on developing treatments and vaccines.

The masks will go to the US, the hardest-hit European countries and Taiwan’s formal diplomatic allies, according to Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.

“Taiwan can help, and Taiwan is helping,” she said.

Tsai also said Taiwan is spending the equivalent of $35bn on measures to support its export-led economy through the crisis.

04:00 GMT – Japan to do ‘whatever is needed’ to control coronavirus

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters the government would do “whatever is needed” to control the coronavirus, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prepared to chair a meeting of his coronavirus task force on Wednesday evening.

Japan Abe
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe answers a question in Parliament in Tokyo [Kyodo via Reuters]

Japan has reported some 2,200 cases and 66 deaths. New infections in Tokyo rose to a daily record of 78 on Tuesday, for a total of more than 500. Schools have been closed since March 2 and expectations are growing the shutdown will be extended.

03:45 GMT – Reporters Without Borders tracking impact of virus on journalism

Reporters without Borders (RSF) has launched its “Tracker 19” tool to document state censorship, deliberate disinformation and their effect on people’s right to reliable news and information during a global pandemic.

Among its most recent entries are Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s attacks on the media, restrictions on the right to inform in Thailand and Turkmenistan’s decision to ban the word “coronavirus”.

03:35 GMT – Malaysia tightens lockdown in ‘second phase’

Malaysia is tightening its lockdown, as the so-called Movement Control Order that was originally to have come to an end on March 31 enters its “second phase”.

The Home Ministry says that, for the next two weeks, public transport will operate only during limited hours in the morning and evening, while private vehicles (including e-hailing services) will be banned from the roads between 10pm (14:00 GMT) and 6am (22:00 GMT).

Malaysia checkpoint
Malaysia has deployed the military to help enforce a nationwide stay-at-home order lasting till April 14 [Fazry Ismail/EPA]

02:40 GMT – Taiwan asks people to wear masks when using public transport

Everyone using public transport in Taiwan will need to wear masks from today, while people with fevers will not be allowed into stations or airports.

Taiwan has been widely praised for its efforts to curb the virus’ spread on the island. Al Jazeera’s Erin Hale wrote earlier on Taiwan’s approach as well as the difficulties it faces because of its exclusion from the WHO.

02:20 GMT – US medical stockpile nearly out of protective gear

The US government’s emergency stockpile of medical equipment has nearly run out of protective gear.

Masks, respirators, gloves, gowns and face shields are all in short supply, two officials at the Department of Homeland Security told Reuters.

02:15 GMT – China data delayed; asymptomatic cases to be reported

China’s National Health Commission has yet to release its daily update on coronavirus cases, with asymptomatic cases expected to be added to the tally.

We will bring you the numbers once they’re announced.

China Wuhan
People queue to enter a supermarket in Wuhan as life slowly returns to normal [Aly Song/Reuters]

02:00 GMT – Two overseas mission staff die in US State Dept’s first coronavirus deaths

Two locally-employed staff at US foreign missions – one in Indonesia and one in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – have died of the coronavirus, the State Department said on Tuesday, its first pandemic-related losses among staff.

01:35 GMT – Hong Kong says pet cat tests positive for coronavirus

Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has revealed that a cat has tested positive for the coronavirus – the third pet to do so in the territory.

The short-haired cat was sent for quarantine when its owner tested positive for COVID-19. The animal does not have any symptoms, the department said in a statement on Tuesday.

Earlier two dogs tested weak positive or positive during repeated tests for the virus.

Hong Kong is urging that pet cats, dogs and other mammals should be quarantined if anyone in the household is confirmed with COVID-19.

00:30 GMT – Trump’s ‘Coronavirus Guidelines for America’

US President Trump has just shared on Twitter his “Coronavirus Guidelines for America” after warning the country faced a “very painful” two weeks as it confronts the virus.

The recommendations advise the elderly and those with underlying health conditions to stay at home and urge those feeling sick to stay at home and seek medical attention.

20:50 GMT Tuesday – UN chief: ‘COVID-19 worst crisis since WWII’

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned the coronavirus pandemic is the most serious crisis facing the world since World War II, threatening people in every country and carrying the risk of “enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict.”

The UN chief was speaking at the launch of a report on the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19.

I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur with Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read all the updates from yesterday (March 31) here.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies